PERRY -- The Houston County Commission on Tuesday rejected a man’s request to put a personal care home for veterans in a residential neighborhood.
The applicant, Rickie Lewis, said after the vote that he thinks it violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. He said he plans to go forward with the project despite the county’s decision.
“This is a blatant discrimination situation,” he said.
Commissioners rejected the plan in a 3-0 vote. Commissioner Larry Thomson was absent due to illness.
The proposed location is a home at 307 Knodishall Drive. Lewis sought a special exception to allow for a home occupation business to care for up to four veterans. He said it would be a nonprofit operation.
Six people who live in the area objected to the request. They said they support the idea, but Lewis’ plan does not fit with the neighborhood of single-family homes.
William Edmonds, a Vietnam veteran who has lived in the neighborhood more than 40 years, questioned whether the house had enough space for what Lewis planned. Lewis estimated the house to be 1,500 to 1,800 square feet with five bedrooms.
“Where are you going to put these people to sleep?” Edmonds said. “Where are you going to give them personal space? ...This is completely irrational.”
John Daniels, another resident, questioned whether the operation was really intended to be a nonprofit.
“This is, we feel, for the sole purpose of creating a business,” Daniels said. “It doesn’t fall within the guidelines of a home business. ... It is just not a business to have in a residential area.”
In the commission’s motion, the board stated that the request violated two provisions of the rules governing home businesses. One states that a business should not take up more than 25 percent of a home’s floor space, and Lewis’ request was found to be in violation of that. The request also was found to be in violation of a provision that states a business should not generate excessive traffic or noise.
Lewis said he believed the objections were based on “fear of the unknown.”
“It amazes me that there is so much discussion over helping people that need help,” he said. “Some of the facilities in the VA hospitals (are) deplorable right now.”
To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9727.